Text Box: VIOLINIST AUTographs


Phone: 212-860-5541 


Price: $650.00



Holographed 13.5” x 19” mounted original 1853 Gabriel Decker lithograph of the German violinist with her instrument and printed by Johann Rauh of Vienna.  Bierlich writes a dedication in pencil to the right of her “in the stone” autograph to the legendary Italian violinist Teresa Milanollo, Hamburg, February 9, 1854.

Dem hoch verehrten Fräulein Thérésa Milanollo zur freundlichen Erinnerung.

Hamburg I 9/2 54.

(To the highly honored Miss Teresa Milanollo with friendly memory)

Interestingly, this lithograph was shown in a Vienna studio exhibit shortly before Decker’s death in 1855 for a book of lithographs entitled “The Masters of Viennese Portrait Lithography”.  It was also shown twenty-eight years after his death in Boston in September, 1883, in the International Exhibition of Graphic Arts. 


Bierlich (1834 - ????) was from Jena and began her violin career with lessons at the age of eight.  At ten she performed for the Grossherzogin of Weimar and afterwards, gave her recital debut in Hamburg.  The audition before the Countess led to lessons with the court Kapellmeister, Ludwig Haase, who was both a violinist and hornist. After six months with Haase, he arranged for a concert in Dresden, the patrons were so pleased they gave her a gift of a quality instrument.  She then went to Leipzig to study with Ferdinand David for another six months.

Bierlich arrived in Berlin in 1847 and performed there and the following year she toured the major cities in Bavaria.  For the next few years she toured Germany, Holland and Belgium.  One of her highlights in 1851 was a concert with the Gewandhaus Leipzig.  Her touring led to Vienna in 1853 where she performed several concerts there.  She must have been stellar and approved by the Hapsburgs, as Decker by then was one of the court painters and lithographers and was known to be the most important portraitists of Austria-Hungarian aristocrats who lived in Vienna, or when they came to town.    In 1854 Bierlich was praised for her concerts in Frankfurt in several concert performances at the art museum there. Whilst touring Scandinavia in 1854, the Danish composer, Hans Christian Lumbye, known as “The Strauss of the North” wrote “The Johanna Waltz” for Bierlach and dedicated the work to her.  She arrived in Switzerland, St. Gallen to be precise in 1855 where she led a series of successful concerts which received top critical praise.   

As a wunderkind and into her twenties, a German female violinist was considered unfavorable next to the Italians despite their skill.  One critic in 1850 wrote in the Rheinische Musik Zeitung even suggested, If her name were Joanna Birlocchi she would have perhaps already caused a sensation in Germany. The comparison was based on violinists like Milanollo to whom the engraving is dedicated, as well as her earlier predecessors, Paravacini and Gerbini and Teresa’s sister Maria. Like both the touring violin and piano virtuosi of her day, in addition to standard repertory, she performed the shorter pyrotechnic pieces in concert of contemporaries like, Beriot, Ernst, Paganini, Panofka and Vieuxtemps.  Critics initially referred to her as a “budding talent”, but later on referred to her great technique including dexterity, bowing and musicality.

Birelich literally disappears not many years after the engraving was accomplished, likely married well and adopted her husband’s name.  It would seem this the most plausible explanation, as her final reviewed performances in St. Gallen, Switzerland were sensational and if she had met an early death, it would have been in the papers of the time.

A scarce and most unusual and large engraving with a top notch association between two of the most important female concert violinists of the mid 19th Century.

A note on the condition, the foxing seen in the scan is much lighter in person.  The lithograph was issued mounted to artist’s rag paper with natural edges as opposed to precisely cut edges. The ochre coloration of the enlarged portion showing the dedication is not visible in person. 

Due to size and special packing and shipping, will provide options-costs to the buyer.